Dune: The Sisterhood to Resume Production Soon Amid WGA and SAG Strikes

Despite the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike leading to the suspension of several projects, the prequel series Dune: The Sisterhood on Max is set to resume filming in the near future. As per recent reports, production in Budapest is expected to recommence "any day now" following a planned hiatus to accommodate the winter conditions in Hungary.

Dune: The Sisterhood joins the likes of HBO's Game of Thrones spinoff House of the Dragon and Industry, as these productions continue shooting amidst the strike. The reason behind their ability to proceed lies in the fact that their casts primarily consist of Equity contract actors, with a few SAG-AFTRA members also involved. As outlined in the guidelines released by SAG-AFTRA, union members working under Equity contracts are not required to halt production at this time.

What Is Happening with Dune: The Sisterhood?

In February, reports emerged indicating that the live-action series had experienced departures, including showrunner Diane Ademu-John and director Johan Renck, who directed the first two episodes. These changes prompted expectations of a hiatus, potentially lasting up to seven months. Prior to these exits, there were significant rewrites following Ademu-John's departure just before the series commenced production in late November. Reports suggest that Renck's directorial style did not align with Max's vision for the show and was considered a departure from the style of Denis Villeneuve's films. Recent updates reveal that Olivia Williams from The Crown and Jodhi May from The Witcher have joined the series, operating under the working title of Dune: The Sisterhood. Williams takes on the role of Tula Harkonnen, replacing Shirley Henderson who stepped away from the part earlier this year. May will be stepping in for Indira Varma, known for Game of Thrones and Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi, who departed due to a scheduling conflict.

"In light of Dune: The Sisterhood (wt) entering a pre-scheduled hiatus, there are ongoing creative adjustments being made to ensure the series remains faithful to the source material and delivers the best possible adaptation," stated an HBO Max spokesperson. "Johan Renck has completed his work on the series, and a new director will be brought on board. Johan and the production have mutually agreed to part ways, allowing him to pursue other projects. Additionally, Shirley Henderson will no longer be part of the series and will not portray the character of Tula Harkonnen."

What Is Dune: The Sisterhood About?

Dune: The Sisterhood revolves around the enigmatic Bene Gesserit, a secretive order of women blessed with extraordinary abilities acquired through their mastery of mind and body. These skilled individuals deftly navigate the intricate web of feudal politics and intrigue within The Imperium, pursuing their own clandestine plans that will ultimately lead them to the mystifying planet Arrakis, commonly known as Dune. Notable members of the cast include Emily Watson as Valya Harkonnen, Sarah-Sofie Boussnina as Princess Ynez, Shalom Brune Franklin as Mikaela, Faoileann Cunningham as Sister Jen, Aoife Hinds as Sister Emeline, Chloe Lea as Lila, Travis Fimmel as Desmond Hart, Mark Strong as Emperor Javicco Corrino, Jade Anouka as Sister Theodosia, Chris Mason as Keiran Atreides, and more.

Regarding the progress of the project, screenwriter Eric Spaihts shared in an interview with The Playlist, "That effort is continuing, and unfortunately, I can't divulge much about it. However, it's still very much alive. I was shifted from it not only to work on Dune: Part Two, but also to explore other cinematic possibilities within the Dune universe. We are actively discussing these prospects, although I can't provide many details. The world of Dune is incredibly rich, offering boundless storytelling opportunities in every direction. Progress has been made, but I am not privy to the specific timeline."

Via Deadline

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